AHEAD OF THE CLASS

What is Common Core

 

1.      Rigorous, research-based standards for mathematics, and English- language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects for grades K-12

2.     Designed to prepare the nation’s students with the knowledge and skills needed for success in college and the workforce

3.     Internationally benchmarked to ensure that students will be globally competitive

4.    A clear and consistent educational framework

5.    A collaborative effort that builds on the best of current state standards

Why the Common Core

Standardizing and Assessing 

In the past, the differing educational standards rendered it difficult to compare education throughout the nation. However, with the Common Core, each school, district, and state will have a much more reliable and valid measure for comparing academic performance. Similarly, by having a common set of standards, pupils who move between schools, districts, or states will transition more smoothly. They should be studying the same things in the new school as they were in the previous school. Additionally, no matter where they move, they will receive the same high-quality education geared toward preparing them for college and the workforce. With a new set of standards, there are also new assessment measures. As states begin to implement the Common Core State Standards, collaborative efforts have started developing a standardized way to assess student achievement of these standards. By having uniform assessment measures, schools and states will ensure that the educational needs of each individual are being met.

Creating Critical Thinkers

Are we teaching our pupils to memorize information? Or are we creating deep, critical thinkers? Critics of individual state educational standards argue that most standards are aimed at getting students to memorize information, not necessarily apply it to real-life situations. Creators of the Common Core want to ensure that scholars are leaving high school ready for all facets of adult academic life. A college freshman may be quite accomplished at memorizing facts, taking multiple-choice tests, and writing essays, but is he able to manage his personal finances? These necessary, but often over-looked, life skills are just as important as academic skills. The Common Core seeks to address these skills.

For example, learners should be able to compute an interest rate for a personal purchase. Common Core high school mathematics strand 2: A.SSE.3c Use the properties of exponents to transform expressions for exponential functions. For example the expression 1.15t can be rewritten as (1.15(1/12)) 12t ≈ 1.01212t to reveal the approximate equivalent monthly interest rate if the annual rate is 15%.

Developing Effective Communicators

An important focus in the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards is on written communication. Educators recognize that effective written communication is an area where our nation’s young learners are far behind. The Common Core puts a greater emphasis on different types, purposes, and genres of writing. Scholars explore scenarios for different types of writing. As they progress through the grade levels, the Common Core increases the complexity of writing. Not only is it important for pupils to be able to write a five-paragraph essay, but they also need to know how to compose a business or cover letter, and a resume.

Engendering High-Quality Resources and Technology Integration

Until now, the myriad of state standards meant that textbook publishers had to develop many different versions of curriculum and coordinating technology components. This means that instead of perfecting the resources for one set of standards, they had to diversify, thus creating lackluster technology components to comply with multiple sets of standards. Now publishing companies can spend their time and resources developing and perfecting curriculum and technology that is attuned only to one set of standards. This will ultimately benefit learners who rely on multimedia and supplemental material for content mastery.

Enhancing Teacher Collaboration

The most substantial gain from switching to a common set of educational standards is the increased cooperation among educators. Instead of teachers being limited to their own state for correlated lesson plans and teaching ideas, they can now collaborate with a much broader population. As the Common Core transition begins to take place, teachers will be able to search blogs and teaching websites for ideas by simply looking up a Common Core standard number. Educators will also be able to communicate more readily with one another about what areas of the standards seem to be most difficult for their learners and how best to address those gaps. Overall, moving to a uniform set of educational standards will give students more opportunities for success, both in their education and in their lives as a whole.

Incorporating Ideas:

Writing for a Purpose

As mentioned above, a big focus with the Common Core is to get pupils prepared for a variety of writing that they will have to do in college and later in their careers. This resource will help to identify the different ways we formulate our thoughts before writing, depending on our reason for writing.

M&M Interesting

Understanding the difference between a savings bank account, a checking account, and the interest associated with each, is not only part of the Common Core, it’s a life skill that adolescents need. Here, they work in groups to decide between a savings account with simple interest and one with compound interest.

Resume Writing

In order for teens to be prepared for life beyond high school and college, they must know how to write a resume. Walk your high schoolers through the basics of what to include on a resume and how to make it visually appealing.


Common Core Essentials

 

Increase Text Complexity:

· Try pairing readings, one at the student’s Lexile level to help develop background knowledge and introduce vocabulary. Then have students read more complex text with your support.

· Lecture isn’t all bad. Lecture can be used to assist understanding for auditory learners. The students need to learn to be good listeners to help them learn to read.

· I work with kids Pre-K -3rd grade and we use a four square activity where we write the word, give a student-friendly definition, give an example of what it is, and give an example of what it isn't. 

      Use Interactive Notebooks for learning new vocabulary. My kids keep a spiral notebook — left side of every page is for LEARNING (input information — notes etc.) and right side is for REFLECTION (output — work based on the notes from the left). Another example: On the right-hand side of the page students summarize, clarify, predict, and pose questions. On the left-hand side, they can draw a picture, write a “What if?” or “I remember when…” or pull newspaper or magazine articles that relate to material on right.


Lead High-Level Class Discussions

Science teachers, try www.pogil.org especially for chemistry. Great group discussions.

· You can also have a few students be the “observers” of good talk in the classroom during a part of the lesson. They can create the dialogue map and collect data on patterns of speaking and listening and report back to class what they find. Good for building critical literacy.

 

Teach Argument Over Persuasion

· Great persuasive papers are based on 'need' instead of 'want.’

   Here’s a good link for rubrics, and it’s free: rubistar.4teachers.org.    

 

Focus on Process, Not Just Content

· It's pretty easy to focus on why and who, but the how is the really important aspect of learning that allows transfer of skills.

· Learning how to process gives students thinking they'll use in all of life.

 

Create Authentic Assignments

· Check out the PACE model lesson plan — focuses on discovery-based learning.

· I had my A.P. students create a PowerPoint for next year's class on how to prepare and be successful in the classroom. I will be using this in September when the new students enter.

Consider inquiry-based teaching and learning approaches.

 

One final thought: As you align your curriculum to meet the Common Core State Standards, remember the bigger picture and that your purpose is to give students the skills needed to be successful both in school and beyond.

 

      Retrieved from http:// 
      www.educationworld.com/a_curr/common-
      core-classroom-strategies.shtml   
  

 

Common Core Technology for K-5 Learners 

Technology

Performance-based assessments that will determine whether schools are meeting the new standards are now projected to be conducted online. That means students will need to be able to express themselves fluently while sitting at a computer. At the very least, they deserve to be skilled enough to surpass hunting and pecking on the keyboard.

According to Common Core Standards for Reading Literature, children in second grade should be able to “use illustrations and words in print and digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.” While such an expectation is routine in reading standards, the addition of digital text provides teachers guidance in supporting age-specific growth in the use of technology as part of regular reading.

Differentiation could be a natural part of meeting a standard like this. Students could address texts that match their reading abilities in independent or station work, much like a books-on-tape reading center of years gone by. In this case, they can get reading support by hearing texts read online and seeing the text in front of them, as well as practice navigating websites and connecting illustrations to stories; illustrations that might even move and talk. Our local County Office of Education provides a portal through which students and faculty can access loads of academic support materials online from the school computer lab. To develop the collaborative work that is integral to the Common Core State Standards, as well as to life in the digital age, students could work in groups on a story online that promotes discussion of the characters, plot, and setting.

Visual and Multimedia Elements 

By grade four, standards for the thread above include analyzing how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, and beauty of a text. The standard gives examples including graphic novels and multimedia presentations of fiction. With the amount of screen time young learners get outside of class, reading for tone and beauty on-screen may be much more intuitive for them than it is for us. Incorporate the computer into your lessons to read stories and look at illustrations. It might make reading a lot less intimidating for reluctant readers to find literature in a format with which they are already comfortable.

Standards for Informational Text, which make explicit skills needed to master the growing emphasis on non-fiction reading in higher education and in the workplace, feature technological elements in every grade beginning in grade two. At that level, readers start to “know and use various text features to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.” Here, the standard lists examples that include print-based features like bold type, subheading and captions, and also electronic menus and icons.

Digital Tools

In the thread of finding information efficiently, third graders need to learn to use text features and search tools both print-based (subheadings, sidebars) and online (keywords, hyperlinks). By the following year, they are expected to learn to interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively in such suggested forms as charts, graphs, animation, and interactive elements on Web pages.

Clearly, whenever we teach reading and research skills, we need to consider how the skill will unfold in a digital format in order to truly prepare our charges for what’s ahead, in school and in the world. With their technological savvy practically inbred at this point, opportunities for child-guided learning may lie in technological elements of literacy development. Can they find stories online with visual elements that tell about character or plot or websites that teach about the science topic you are studying? I bet they can!

Writing

Standards for Writing introduce active use of technology right from the start in kindergarten. Our youngest writers need opportunities to “explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.” First and second graders move from exploration to using tools to publish their writing. A second/third grade teacher I know is aiming to publish a class newspaper next year. Students could exercise choice about the type of writing they create:

  • Class news
  • Features (presentation of research)
  • Class celebrity interviews
  • Horoscopes
  • Advice columns

Then, they can work together to design and layout the paper, and finally publish it online for families and fans to enjoy. In addition to meeting the technological element of the standards, this project will emphasize the collaborative work in an authentic, and fun, context.

Keyboarding Skills

At grade three, the use of keyboarding skills makes its first specific appearance in the Common Core. In the same “Production and Distribution of Writing” anchor standard as those described above, by this time, writers are expected to not only publish writing, but to use keyboarding skills to “interact and collaborate with others.” Can you connect your students with another classroom — perhaps even a class at another school — to co-create and use interactive learning environments, even as simple as a bulletin board on which young researchers could post and compare their findings?

Online Research

Online research is a natural way to build needed skills, and many people in grades three, four, and five have probably searched for YouTube videos of interest. They could work with a group to find various sources of information about a topic to get them up to speed on the skills of gathering information from print and digital resources and they could share their findings with the class.

Voice and Audio Recordings

From grade two onward, Common Core State Standards explicitly include the use of voice and audio recordings under the speaking and listening anchor standard of “Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas.” Second graders make audio recordings of stories or poems, either original or published. The following year, the standard expands the expectation that the recordings be engaging recordings that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace. By grades four and five, audio, visual, and other multimedia production is no longer a goal, but components that enhance the development of main ideas and themes in presentations. Software like Garage Band allows for not just recording, but engineering sound for effect. Look around what your school computer lab or library offers and book some time for your kids to explore novel ways to produce writing.

Upper elementary learners should also begin to use both print and digital reference materials to build vocabulary and knowledge of the language. Browsing the Common Core Standards can help generate lesson ideas for ways to meet the standards. Do you usually have your third graders write a poem memorializing a lost loved one for Dia de los Muertos? Next year, have them record it. Let them demonstrate their growing reading skills and fluency by recording a story they read in class and making it available for families to share online after school hours.

More Ideas from Lesson Planet

Monster Voices

Even looking at this link can get you excited about this resource. Learners write original monster narratives based on Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and record themselves, using GarageBand technology to modify their voices to sound more monsterish. The standards call for engaging audio recordings; have a listen. You’ll surely be engaged by this delightful lesson.

Collaborative Story-telling

This tech-focused plan features a clever opportunity for collaboration, and physical movement, in the computer lab. Group accountability is inherent in the project as all pupils contribute to each other’s stories.

Japan, or Anywhere!

Use this model with any research topic. After an exhaustive (exhausting!) list of content standards, grade level expectations, and such, there is a clear guideline for using multiple digital resources to build knowledge and enhance a presentation with visual and multimedia components. This is handy if you are studying Japan, but readily adaptable for any research topic with a little investigative effort on the part of the teacher.